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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum. My German Shepherd mix is about 8 years old and has become increasingly cranky with other dogs. He's great with people and all his dog friends, but out for walks he barks aggressively, lunges and generally goes nuts if we see other dogs, especially other German shepherds or big dogs. This is new within the past year or so. He used to be great at dog parks or on off-leash trails. Now that's out of the question. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm wondering if he's in pain and feels defensive? Or is he just a cranky old guy? Anyone have any solutions? I've been walking him just around the neighborhood, giving him lots of treats for good behavior, and on a short leash. All suggestions appreciated! Thanks!
 

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I agree with he may not be feeling well, so I would suggest to first have your vet check him over. If there are no health issues, then it could be aging. When my Sting turned 8, he would get panic attacks - at night and even in the car. I put him on the cholodin supplement as discussed in this thread linked below, and it helped tremendously. But your gsd is reacting differently, so though I would suggest trying the supplement, I would also suggest to continue to stay away from the dog park and not have him interact with strange dogs. With the leash walks and treats for good behavior, that is a good way to make him feel that he can enjoy a walk without having the stress of interacting with other dogs.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/senior-dog/458945-cholodin-supplement-senior-dogs-sometimes-worth-try.html
 

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Hi everyone,
I'm new to this forum. My German Shepherd mix is about 8 years old and has become increasingly cranky with other dogs. He's great with people and all his dog friends, but out for walks he barks aggressively, lunges and generally goes nuts if we see other dogs, especially other German shepherds or big dogs. This is new within the past year or so. He used to be great at dog parks or on off-leash trails. Now that's out of the question. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm wondering if he's in pain and feels defensive? Or is he just a cranky old guy? Anyone have any solutions? I've been walking him just around the neighborhood, giving him lots of treats for good behavior, and on a short leash. All suggestions appreciated! Thanks!
Right around 7-8 temperament changes are common. Dogs will frequently react to noises that never bothered them before, startle easier and begin showing intolerance or even aggression toward other dogs.
Think about it in terms you can relate to. At nearly 50 I don't enjoy noise or crowds, I find that situations that used to be fine make me uncomfortable and I have no desire to put up with childish crap anymore.
 

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I've only had 2 dogs previously that attained this age, so my experience is limited in that regard. But I would never take this drastic a change in behavior toward dogs while out walking on leash as an age-related thing. Something triggered it, pain, an experience, a change in your demeanor...something! Look for and resolve the reason he's acting this way is what I'd do...but, get off my lawn while you do it! LOL
 

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I sometimes felt bad for the old dogs that get left home while the younger dogs go out to track or do protections work, etc. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong, that old doggos prefer to stay home. They want to relax and chase squirrels in their own yards. But I would check health first, it could be anything from sore joints to not being able to see as well to the beginning do dog dementia (I do hope it is not that).
 

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It could be they get up in age and their cognitive skills go down the tube. My first german Shepherd Karat never mind loud thunder storms. After he turned 8 years old that was also when arthritis started kicking and he became extremely sensitive to the air pressure when a storm was coming around would start to shake and get nervous.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, everyone! The hot-dog treats seem to be working, at least a little. We might not ever be back at the dog park, but we'll be fine with our early morning walks and bag of treats. Thanks again.
 

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